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What does an Engineering Psychologist do?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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An engineering psychologist is someone who uses psychology knowledge to help inform the engineering designs of various products and devices. The general goal is to make the things that people use on a day-to-day basis easier and more intuitive. People who enter this field generally have a certain amount of training in both engineering and psychology as well as specific courses designed to help integrate the two. They work in several different fields, but are especially common in the computer software industry, medical industry, and aviation.

Developing user-friendly tools has generally always been an important goal for engineers, but some engineers have had more success than others. The engineering psychologist has the job of working with engineers to help in understanding how people will interact with a device. In some cases, they might be directly involved in setting up product testing procedures and interviewing people after they test the products. They will then often use the information gained in these testing procedures to make recommendations about various ways that products can be improved.

The computer software field is a particularly common area for an engineering psychologist to find a job. This is because there's usually a lot of concern about creating user interfaces that are easy to understand and use. An engineering psychologist can help software designers anticipate the ways that people will try to interact with their products so that they can create a better user experience.

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In the fields of medicine and aviation, the engineering psychologist is particularly useful because technology is generally changing so frequently and mistakes can be so costly. If a doctor has a hard time using a new piece of machinery, a person’s life could be endangered, and that can be even more true in the case of a pilot. Engineering psychologists can potentially be helpful in the testing process to make devices that are less prone to user error in these fields, and therefore, potentially safer for everyone.

In theory, an engineering psychologist could work in almost any engineering field where products are being made for people to directly interact with. Many of them also go into research jobs where they can experiment and advance the overall knowledge of engineering psychology. These jobs are frequently offered by certain universities, and according to experts, they don’t pay quite as well as industrial jobs.

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